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Minnesota Vikings are pivotal players in 2024 NFL draft: What you need to know

Vikings' star WR Justin Jefferson to star in Netflix's "Receiver" docuseries
Vikings' star WR Justin Jefferson to star in Netflix's "Receiver" docuseries 00:33

MINNEAPOLIS — The 2024 NFL draft starts Thursday night, and fans — and even many other teams — are eagerly waiting to see what the Minnesota Vikings will do.

With the departure of Kirk Cousins in free agency, the Vikings are expected to be aggressive in trying to get a quarterback of the future, potentially even trading up into the top five to do so. What they do will have a domino effect on the rest of the draft, possibly triggering more trades and/or a run on QBs.

Here's everything Vikings fans needs to know about the 2024 NFL draft.

NFL Combine
INDIANAPOLIS, INDIANA - FEBRUARY 27: General manager Kwesi Adolfo-Mensah of the Minnesota Vikings speaks to the media during the NFL Combine at the Indiana Convention Center on February 27, 2024 in Indianapolis, Indiana. Getty Images

When does the draft start and how do you watch it?

The first round of the 2024 NFL draft starts at 7 p.m. CT on Thursday. Rounds two and three will take place Friday starting at 6 p.m., and the final four rounds will begin at 11 a.m. on Saturday.

All seven rounds will be broadcast on the NFL Network, ABC, ESPN and ESPN Deportes.

The Vikings are also hosting a draft party at U.S. Bank Stadium on Thursday.

How many picks do the Vikings currently have and when do they pick?

The Vikings currently have nine picks in the draft:

  • Round 1, 11th overall
  • Round 1, 23rd overall
  • Round 4, 108th overall
  • Round 4, 129th overall
  • Round 5, 157th overall
  • Round 5, 167th overall
  • Round 6, 177th overall
  • Round 7, 230th overall
  • Round 7, 232nd overall

Those picks could change between now and the start of the draft — or even during the draft — if the Vikings make any trades.

What are the Vikings' biggest needs?

Besides the aforementioned need at QB, the Vikings have several positions they could address in the draft.

They invested on the defensive line in free agency, adding pass rushers Jonathan Greenard and Andrew Van Ginkel, but they still need help there. They could look to add a defensive tackle, or more edge help.

Cornerback is another high-priority need. Beyond Byron Murphy, the Vikings don't have many sure things in the CB room.

On offense, interior offensive line remains a concern. Guard or center could be positions the Vikings look to shore up.

What have been some mock draft scenarios?

In the latest round of CBS Sports mock drafts, all five experts have the Vikings taking a QB.

Four of the five experts have Minnesota trading into the top five to do so. Those four are split on whether they'll take Michigan's J.J. McCarthy or North Carolina's Drake Maye.

The sixth expert has McCarthy falling to the Vikings at pick 11. Then, at No. 23 — which the Vikings acquired from the Houston Texans and, in the other scenarios, would send to the Los Angeles Charges to trade up — he has them taking edge rusher Chop Robinson from Penn State.

2023 NFL Draft - Round 1
KANSAS CITY, MISSOURI - APRIL 27: (L-R) Jordan Addison poses with NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell after being selected 23rd overall by the Minnesota Vikings during the first round of the 2023 NFL Draft at Union Station on April 27, 2023 in Kansas City, Missouri. Getty Images

Who else have the Vikings taken in the first round over the past several years?

General manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah has been hit-or-miss in the first round in his two drafts at the helm.

In 2022, his first draft as GM, he traded back and took safety Lewis Cine out of Georgia. Cine was a highly-touted prospect, but a broken leg ended his rookie season early. He has failed to see the field much since, partially due to the glut of talent the Vikings have at that position.

Last year, Adofo-Mensah took wide receiver Jordan Addison out of USC. Addison had a stellar rookie season, catching 70 passes for 911 yards and 10 touchdowns, even with No. 1 wideout Justin Jefferson missing several games.

Other recent first-round picks include franchise left tackle Christian Darrisaw (2021), Jefferson (2020) and center Garrett Bradbury (2019).

The Vikings haven't taken a quarterback in the first round since 2014, when they drafted Teddy Bridgewater at No. 32 overall.

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